President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo swore in 17 new envoys at the Presidential Palace on Monday, filling various strategic posts that were previously left vacant even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The ambassadors included former Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Rosan Roeslani, who is a close aide of Jokowi and a former member of the President’s 2019 election campaign team. As Kadin chief, Rosan played a significant role in carrying out the government’s pro-business strategies, which included the swift passage of the Job Creation Law and the private-sector Gotong Royong vaccination scheme.

He was confirmed as the new Indonesian Ambassador to the United States based in Washington, DC, a strategic diplomatic post that was left vacant after the previous envoy M. Lutfi became trade minister last December. Meanwhile, Jokowi’s erstwhile spokesperson Fadjroel Rachman was made ambassador to Kazakhstan.

A number of senior diplomats are also set to begin work in various strategic foreign posts, including Febrian A. Ruddyard, formerly the Foreign Ministry’s director general for multilateral affairs, as Indonesian Ambassador to the United Nations based in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as Siswo Pramono, the head of the ministry’s Policy Analysis and Development Agency, as Ambassador to Australia and Vanuatu.

Arrmanatha Nasir, a former ministry spokesman and previously the Indonesian ambassador to France, will head to New York to serve as Indonesia’s Permanent Representative at the UN, while Ade Padmo Sarwono, former Indonesian ambassador to ASEAN, will become ambassador to Jordan and Palestine.

Other career diplomats sworn in on Monday include Pribadi Sutiono as Indonesian Ambassador to Slovakia, Bebeb Djundjunan for Greece, Dewi Tobing for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, M. Oemar for France and Monaco, Derry Aman as Permanent Representativeat ASEAN, Okto Manik as Ambassador to Timor Leste, Ardi Hermawan for Bahrain and Tatang Razak for Colombia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and St. Kitts and Nevis.

A number of political appointees were also inaugurated as ambassadors: Nahdlatul Ulama scholar Abdul Aziz Ahmad for Saudi Arabia, United Development Party (PPP) politician Lena Maryana Mukti for Kuwait and former National Mandate Party (PAN) lawmaker M. Najib for Spain.

The inaugurations were stipulated in Presidential Decree No.127/P/2020 issued on Oct. 22. Former health minister Terawan Agus Putranto, who was widely criticized as the man most responsible for Indonesia’s poor early response to the COVID-19 crisis, had previously been tipped to become ambassador, but reportedly withdrew. Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD, Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung also attended the ceremony.

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